Mazda opens latest North American PDC

Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has opened the fourth of its new parts distribution centres in the US, part of a network that will include five centres in the US and two in Canada, all part of a $20m network expansion announced in 2010.

The latest centre – the Chicago Parts Distribution Center – is being managed by Caterpillar Logistics. It is located in Aurora, Illinois and will supply automotive parts to more than 125 dealers in the Midwest and Canada.

MNAO oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support to nearly 900 dealers in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Mazda's US vehicle sales in 2011 were up 9.1% over 2010, with nearly 250,500 vehicles sold, while Mexico celebrated its best-ever year in 2011 as sales surged 19%, just short of 30,000 vehicles sold. 

In Canada, Mazda sold just more than 69,000 vehicles in 2011, down 12% on the previous year.

Gefco and Uniworld unite in India

French logistics provider Gefco and Indian freight forwarder, Uniworld Logistics, have agreed a brand tie-up to provide inbound logistics services to car manufacturers in India.

Uniworld’s group managing director, Prem Kumar, explained that initially the two companies will collaborate on creating a single brand name, which is yet to be decided, and that it will undertake all inbound logistics on the route linking Asia and Europe.

Gefco will be responsible for the technical expertise and provision of IT platforms, leaving it to Uniworld to provide warehousing, people and operations. 

Kumar added that high-end cars in India incorporate up to 60% of imported components.

Uniworld already has experience in the inbound logistics sector, moving equipment built by Denso at its plants in Dadri and Manesar to Hyundai’s manufacturing facility close to Chennai, where it builds the Eon. This has required the acquisition of a 180,500-square-metre warehouse in the city.

Uniworld Logistics launched its warehousing and distribution services in February 2009 with the Uniworld Integrated Logistics Park (UILP) in Chennai.

The company, which is to invest $15m in the next two years on expansion, has already established three logistics hubs close to the cities of Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, which have absorbed investment of around $10m. New warehousing under the company's control is due to increase from 60,400-square-metres to 93,000-square-metres.

Gefco is pursuing expansion in India and diversifying its logistics offering in the country beyond the business it provides for parent company PSA Peugeot Citroën.  Last year it acquired a 70% stake in Italy’s Mercurio Group, a vehicle logistics company with significant operations in India through a joint venture, Mercurio Pallia.

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This week PSA has also announced that it would be selling a stake in Gefco.

Exports lead growth from UK

Growth in vehicle exports from the UK is helping to strengthen manufacturing in the country as figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal the importance of this trade to the manufacturing sector. Exports of UK-made cars and commercial vehicles have risen from 75% to over 80% of total production, which rose 5.8% to 1.3m in 2011.

Passenger car exports from the country were up 17% to 1.1m for the year, accounting for 83.7% of the total production figure, though the home market saw a decline of nearly 30% and accounted for just over 219,134 of the 1.3m production figure.

Commercial vehicle exports last year did see a decline of almost 19% but exports still accounted for nearly 58% of total production which ended up at just more than 121,300.

That growth combined with weak level of imports has helped narrow the country’s trade deficit in vehicles to its smallest margin since 1976, according to the Financial Times.

The paper reported that weaker sterling has probably helped exports but that carmakers have also been tapping the right markets, including those in the BRIC economies.

Flash Europe takes over v-one

Flash Europe, the French freight expediter, has taken over UK express logistics provider v-one, building on its growth in services for the automotive industry.

Flash counts VW, Opel and Renault among its clients, as well as suppliers Bosch, Continental, Delphi and Faurecia. v-one, meanwhile, provides time critical door-to-door delivery for customers including Nissan, Land Rover, Honda and Volvo.

“In v-one we've acquired a company that has been operating successfully in the market for many years and enables us to profitably access the British market,” said Philippe Higelin, Flash Europe's general manager. “Its expertise in air charter, airfreight and on-board-courier services makes it highly attractive. It gives us the opportunity to enlarge our network in these sectors and, above all, benefit from its staff's expertise. In return we'll be sharing our skills in direct delivery with the company and will offer v-one customers our high quality service.”

The acquisition means Flash Europe now has a worldwide network covering 78 countries.

All of v-one’s staff will be retained and the Flash v-one business will be headed by James Griffiths. He will be supported over the next six months by Roxana Tugui, who takes over leadership of the integration project.

The Flash Group, which includes Flash Europe and Flash Taxicolis (the former LaPoste subsidiary), recorded a turnover of €118m last year.

Brazil unhappy with ACE 55 auto deal

The Mexican government and representatives of the automotive industry in the country have said they will not renegotiate the ACE 55 automotive trade deal with Brazil despite the latter’s dissatisfaction with the current agreement.

Under the Economic Complementation Agreement (ACE) 55, Mercosur countries negotiate annual bilateral import quotas with Mexico for tariff-free entry of automobiles. In Brazil the agreement was entered into force on 15 January 2003.

Brazil is unhappy with the current agreement because of a growing deficit in vehicle and parts trade with Mexico, partly as a consequence of its stronger currency, the real. It had been running significant trade surpluses under ACE 55 in the first six years of the agreement.

Since the agreement was signed the automotive sector has grown to more than $2.5 billion last year from about $1.1 billion in 2003, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Between 2003 and 2011 Mexico had an accumulated automotive trade deficit with Brazil of around $10 billion, reports the paper, adding that in total trade between Mexico and Brazil, Mexico had a total accumulated trade deficit of $22 billion with Brazil.

Mexico produced 2.56m passenger vehicles and light trucks last year and exported a record 2.14m vehicles, according to the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA). The association reported that between 2007 and 2011 Mexican light vehicle exports to Brazil grew from 24,986 to 131,384 units, AMIA said.


Logwin supports BMW aftermarket in Frankfurt

Logwin is now running a third spare parts distribution warehouse for BMW, the latest located in the German town of Maintal, 15km outside Frankfurt. Logwin also manages facilities in Hamburg and Cologne.


Described by Logwin as the world’s largest Dealer Metro Distribution Center (DMDC), the facility serves116 BMW dealers and repair shops in the region with six shipments prepared per day. The facility includes about 25,000 spaces in the small parts warehouse and 2,000 storing positions for larger items. There are almost 20,000 various articles stored in the 5,500 square meters of space.


Logwin uses BMW’s own IT programs to manage inventory and orders.


Logwin has been providing various services to BMW since the 1980s.